Page 20 of Codex Boturini -- Extended Reading
by Karl Young

The Old Ones composed
their song of defeat:
"The edge of the earth rips open;
hideous omens rise above us;
the sky shatters over our heads
and falls on us in Chapultepec.
The Fate of the Year,
the true weight of the Year,
had to come down on our heads,
and we raised our voices
over the rocks of Chapultepec:
the Mexica are no more --
the root of The People
has been torn from the sky.
With shields turned to every side
we die in Chapultepec.
Our enemies bathe in glory,
our pain quickens their hearts;
our enemies delight in victory,
our shame throbs in their wrists.
The Mexica are carried off as slaves
to the four quarters of the earth.
We will climb the temple in Colhuacan
with sacrificial banners in our hands."
For two years,
Year 3-Flint and Year 4-House,
Huitzilihuitl lead a band of guerrillas,
but in Year 4-House
he and his daughter were captured
and brought before
King Coxcoxtli,
Pheasant Lord,
Ruler of Colhuacan.
The Lords and Ladies of the Mexica
were stripped of their clothes
and sacrificed without honor,
without their feathers and emblems,
not as warriors,
but as slaves,
as trash to be discarded,
not with divine symbols,
but simply as refuse,
without a shred
of dignity left them:
naked they climbed
the temple in Colhuacan.
For two years,
Year 5-Rabbit and Year 5-Reed,
the people were slaves
in the barrio of Contitlan,
The Place of the Jugs.
Huitzilopochtli's bundle,
the sacred matter of the god,
was taken from them
and locked in a prison.
They had no temple
and their new masters
wouldn't allow them
to build one.
Their priests and the people
met in secret,
kept the stories and laws
of their imprisoned god
alive in their minds,
and practiced the rites
the god's law required.
The Mexica did not make good slaves
and Coxcoxtli wished
to be rid of them.
So he pretended to be magnanimous
and gave them a place
called Tizaapan,
a place infested with snakes,
a place without water,
a place where he thought
the Mexica would die.
But the Mexica
had learned to find water
in its secret hiding places;
for many Cycles of Time
they had lived in the desert.
They knew how to eat snakes:
Tizaapan fed them well.
The desert was a good arena
to practice their martial arts
and a place for a temple.
In this place of death
the Mexica regained their strength.

Go to pages 21 and 22 of Codex Boturini

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Copyright © 1983 and 1999 by Karl Young